It seems that Iranian vendors that sell Apple products are shrugging off recent reports of an incident regarding a US Apple Store employee refusing to sell an iPhone and an iPad to two Farsi-speaking customers.
According to a weekend story from the Agence France-Presse (via MSN News), both iPhones and iPads are popular throughout Iran’s capital.
One salesman – who identified himself only as Hossein – told the AFP that Apple products are only about US$50-$60 more than US retail prices, going on to add that he had sold 40 iPhones the previous day.
Regarding the current exportation policies that prohibit Apple products being shipped to Iran, Hossein says that it is easy for vendors to find ways around the ban, including smuggling the items to Iran via Iraq, adding that nearly everyone owns an iDevice in the city of Tehran. Other traders revealed that a number of shops in Iran masquerade as official Apple stores to attract customers.
While vendors in Iran seem unfazed by the export restrictions, there is still contention as to whether the recent incident at the US Apple Store was racially provoked. Following a Georgia outlet refusing to sell equipment to Sarah Sabet – US citizen (of Iranian heritage) .
Meanwhile, another Farsi-speaking customer, Zack Jafarzadeh, reportedly received similar treatment at a different Apple Store in Atlanta when he visited to buy an iPhone.
Sabet and Jafarzadeh both claim the Apple Stores discriminated against them, based on racial prejudice and did not understand the stores’ policy, labelling it “inconsistent”.
A representative for the US State Department has stated there is no policy or law that prohibits Apple from selling products in the US to customers of Iranian descent or citizenship, although all patrons need a license in order to “high-technology goods” to Iran.
According to vendors in Iran, however, that license is nothing more than a joke.
Below is a clip from the TV segment [via 9to5 Mac] reporting on the Apple Store stoush in Georgia.